ABOUT US International Research Advisory Council
The Alberta Prion Research Institute relies on members of its International Research Advisory Council, an independent group of international prion and protein misfolding experts, to provide its most senior level of scientific advice.
DR. JASON BARTZ
Dr. Bartz is a Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Creighton University. Dr. Bartz’s research in prion diseases spans more than 20 years and has investigated interspecies transmission, pathogenesis, the environmental fate of prions and the biology of prion strains. The result of this work on interspecies transmission has changed the paradigm of how a protein encoded infectious agent can encode strain diversity and how prion strains interact. These findings have a significant impact on both prion diseases and other protein misfolding diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s) where strain diversity has recently been observed. This work on prion pathogenesis has identified new efficient routes of neuroinvasion and has identified novel pathways of prion transport. Dr. Bartz’s studies of the environmental fate of prions have resulted in fundamental discoveries on how prions interact with the environment and how this influences the biology of prion disease.
DR. DAVID HARRIS
Dr. Harris is the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine. His laboratory investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying two classes of human neurodegenerative disorders: Alzheimer’s and prion diseases. Their work has two broad objectives: to understand how prions and other misfolded protein aggregates cause neurodegeneration, neuronal death and synaptic dysfunction; and to use knowledge of the cell biology of prion and Alzheimer’s diseases to develop drug molecules and other therapeutic modalities for treatment of these disorders.
DR. JAMES HOPE
Dr Hope graduated in Chemistry (B.Sc) and Biochemistry (M.Sc) at Imperial College, London, followed by research on the structure and function of pituitary protein hormones at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, London (PhD). In 1984, following a post-doc in cell biology, he was appointed to create and lead a molecular sciences group working on scrapie, a disease of sheep, at the AFRC/MRC Neuropathogenesis Unit, Edinburgh. Between 1984 and 2000 (including a period as Acting Head of Unit) he developed a programme of research on the protein chemistry, molecular biology and genetics of the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies and became an expert in the molecular aspects of BSE, scrapie and CJD. In December 2000, he joined VI Technologies (VITEX) Inc., Watertown, MA, USA as Vice President Molecular Sciences. He led a team focused on improving the safety of the human blood supply with respect to prions and other pathogens. He returned to the UK in December 2002 as Deputy Chief Scientist and Head of TSE Department within Defra’s Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratory Agency. He left public service in November 2016 to develop initiatives in the One Health forum worldwide. Dr Hope has advised the UK Government, EU, OIE, WHO and industry on TSE problems since 1988, and was a member of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Bio-Hazards panel from its inauguration in 2003 until 2012. He has published over 100 research papers and has a Hirsch Index of 41.
Dr. Lasmezas obtained her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Masters of Aeronautic and Space Medicine at the University of Toulouse, and her PhD in Neurosciences at the University of Paris, France. She started studying the neurodegenerative diseases caused by prions at the French Atomic Energy Commission in the early 1990s, when mad cow disease had just appeared in the United Kingdom. In 1996, her research provided the first experimental proof that mad cow disease had been transmitted to humans. She established the experimental models to study the pathogenesis of the disease caused by bovine prions. She studied the role of the immune system, the propagation of the infectious agent in the organism, and the neurodegenerative process. At the peak of the mad cow disease crisis, she had become an advisor for several European governmental and public health committees and for the World Health Organization. Since her appointment at Scripps Florida in 2005, her research team has focused on how prions replicate and lead to neuronal dysfunction and loss, and on the search for drugs to halt the neurodegenerative process in prion and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Dr. Manson is an internationally recognized scientist in TSE research. She is the Head of the Neurobiology Division of The Roslin Institute and holds the Chair of Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on elucidating mechanisms of TSE disease transmission within and between individuals using unique transgenic mouse models. She is a member of the WHO TSEs Working Group, the UK SEAC government advisory body and the Executive Committee of the NeuroPrion EU Network of Excellence. She was recently awarded an OBE in the 2008 New Year's honour list.
Dr. Telling's involvement in prion disease research began as a trainee with Nobel Laureate Stanley Prusiner. He subsequently worked as an independent investigator at the UK Medical Research Council Prion Unit, and at the Sanders Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky. Since late 2011, Dr. Telling has been the Director of the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University where he is also a Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. While the Telling lab is particularly recognized for transgenic mouse modeling of prion diseases, it is one of only a handful of research groups with the resources and expertise for studying prion diseases using whole animal, transgenic, cell biological, biochemical, and molecular genetic approaches. The overarching goal of Dr. Telling's research program is to study the mechanism of prion replication, prion species barriers and strain diversity, and the molecular basis of inherited human prion diseases.
Dr. Zerr is a neurologist at the Neurologic University Hospital, the head of the dementia and prion research group, and a Professor of Neurodegenerative Disorders in the Department of Neurology at Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany. Her scientific research activities include: cerebrospinal fluid research, clinical diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), pre-mortem diagnostic techniques in TSE, epidemiological studies on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, risk factors of CJD, and differential diagnosis of dementia and treatable dementia. Dr. Zerr has participated in and coordinated many national, European Union and World Health Organization research initiatives and risk assessment working groups, and she is widely published in the area of CJD.
International Research Advisory Council
Professor, Creighton University
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Professor and Chair, Biochemistry, Boston University
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Advisor, UK Government, EU, OIE, WHO
Professor, Department of Infectology, The Scripps Research Institute
Jupiter, Florida, USA
Head, Neurobiology Division of The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh
Director, Prion Research Center, Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
Georg August University